Project Canopy Awards Tree - Planting Grants to Schools
May 6, 2011
AUGUSTA, Maine - Project Canopy, the Maine Forest Service's community forestry program, has awarded 22 Maine schools a total of more than $17,000 in grants for tree-planting projects.
The schools, including elementary, middle, high and technical schools, will plant the trees for a variety of purposes, such as improving school lunch programs, curriculum development and landscaping, according to Jan Ames Santerre, Project Canopy director, under the Maine Department of Conservation.
The individual grants, provided under the Arbor Week Tree-Planting Grant Program, range from $1,000 to $227 for a total of $17,494. This is the first year of the grant program, which has federal and corporate sponsors, Santerre said.
"I am very pleased with the number of schools that applied - there was more interest than I expected," the program director said. "We were able to reach out to small schools, community schools, which have less access to grants. They put a lot of effort into their applications."
"I'm pleased that we are able to help Maine students learn first-hand about the importance of trees and forests to our Maine way of life," Doug Denico, Maine Forest Service director, said. "I also would like to thank our sponsors who have made this significant grant program possible."
The Arbor Week Tree-Planting Grant Program is funded by the USDA Forest Service-Urban and Community Forestry Program, with corporate sponsorship from Evergreen Credit Union, Portland; Androscoggin Bank, Lewiston; and Central Maine Power, Augusta.
In submitting their applications, the schools had to describe their projects in detail and provide essays and student art, Santerre said. "They actually put a lot of thought into the locations, types of trees and purposes," she said.
Some schools stated they would plant fruit trees to support their food programs and help teach children about healthy nutrition. "A lot of them were new schools looking to enhance their landscaping," the project director said.
Among the grant recipients:
- Bowdoin Central School intends to plant sugar maples to harvest sap and make syrup;
- Madawaska Middle-High School will plant maples and cedar for shading, screening and wind protection;
- Ridge View Community School in Dexter will plant apple, lilac, white birch and eastern red bud to attract wildlife and for ornamental purposes;
- Capital Area Technical Center, Cony High School, in Augusta will purchase peach saplings for its Keep Growing Greenhouse Program, which teaches students about locally grown food and environmental connections.
Maine Forest Service's 10 field foresters will follow up and work with the schools to provide planting and maintenance advice, Santerre said. They also will be able to support teachers with their curriculum, she said.
"It gives teachers an important resource," Santerre said.
The project director said she would like to see the program continue next year. The school projects will be acknowledged as part of the Maine Forest Service's annual Arbor Week celebration, with a special ceremony at 1 p.m., Monday, May 16, at the Maine State Cultural Building Atrium (Museum/Library).
A complete list of the recipient schools can be found at: http://www.state.me.us/doc/mfs/projectcanopy/pages/resource/2011_grants.htm
For more information about Project Canopy, go to: http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/projectcanopy/
For more information about the Maine Forest Service, go to: http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/index.shtml